Pursuing a Deeper Life

It’s easy to skim along the surface of life these days, bouncing from distraction to distraction. What I want in life is depth. I want to have a life that counts. Not “successful,” but one that counts for eternity. To that end, I’ve been a bit of quest recently for how to live a deeper life inspired by my main man, Cal Newport. I’ve been trying to focus on more of the things which truly matter and staying away from the things that don’t. 

Of course, figuring out the things which truly matter is difficult. This is where Scripture helps. The Bible tells us that in the original creation, God made us with four key relationships:

  • God
  • Self
  • Others
  • Created Order

We were made in God’s image, made for relationship with him (Gen 1:26-27). He made human beings to have an integrated relationship with themselves. We are body and soul united in one person, having received the life-giving breath of God (Gen 2:7). But to be a person is to be irreducibly social: “It is not good for man to be alone” the Lord says (Gen 2:18). Finally, we were made to be God’s vice-regents, taking dominion over the earth (Gen 1:28).   

So I have tried to arrange my pursuit of depth in life around these four “buckets”:

  • God
  • Health 
  • Family
  • Work 

These four seem to be working for me. Yet the number of buckets and labels for them is not magic. Others may have more or less or even have different labels (although I would imagine that “God” should be on the list for all Christians 🙂 

Once I got my buckets in place, I tried to develop a “keystone habit” for each area. A keystone habit is a daily or weekly practice that I track. You can find my super sophisticated system for tracking these things here:

I have found daily habits to be the most helpful to implement yet challenging to develop. A daily habit can be incredibly fruitful because you’re literally doing important things every single day. Yet it has to be easy enough to step into every single day too. Going to the gym for an hour is not something I can do every single day. But hitting a certain step count certainly is. Keystone habits aren’t the end all be all of focusing on and accomplishing important things. But they are the baseline practices that keep my life from going off the rails. 

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